Reports: Northwestern’s Phillips to be next ACC commissioner

The Wildcats AD would replace the retiring John Swofford, who has held the post since 1997

Northwestern University athletic director Jim Phillips will reportedly replace John Swofford as commissioner of the ACC. (Charles Rex Arbogast / AP Photo)

The Atlantic Coast Conference is finalizing a deal to make Northwestern athletic director Jim Phillips the league’s next commissioner, replacing the retiring John Swofford.

Two people with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press on Monday they expected an agreement to be reached with Phillips and the conference soon. One of the people said Phillips has been offered a five-year contract.

Both spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the ACC’s negotiations.

The ACC did not immediately return a request for comment. Text messages to Phillips were not immediately returned.

Yahoo Sports first reported the ACC was expected to hire Phillips.

Phillips has been Northwestern’s AD since 2008, leading the athletic department through a period of success in competition and growth in facilities. He oversaw the funding of Northwestern’s $270 million Walter Athletics Center and Ryan Fieldhouse indoor practice facility located on Lake Michigan’s shores.

He is also set to become chairman of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee for the 2021-22 season.

Phillips was a candidate to become Big Ten commissioner when the conference was searching for a replacement for Jim Delany last year, but ultimately the league went outside of college athletics and hired former NFL executive Kevin Warren.

The league announced Swofford’s planned retirement in June, though he was to continue in the job until a successor was named and to aid the transition.

The 72-year-old Swofford became commissioner in 1997 of a very different ACC, which had only nine members at the time and remained basketball-focused. Swofford eventually led the ACC through multiple waves of expansion to form a 15-team conference stretching along nearly the entire Eastern Seaboard and west into Kentucky and Indiana.